WWI DISPATCH March 2020

An item from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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March 2020

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On Friday, April 3, please join us for a virtual tour and construction update of the National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. featuring the project’s lead designer Joe Weishaar, project managers for Grunley Construction, and others. This is a great opportunity to get an insider perspective on this important project. We are practicing all CDC Covid-19 protocols, and are fortunate to be able to continue our mission to build the Memorial that will honor our WWI Veterans in our nation’s capital for generations to come. Click on the photo above to register for the webinar on Friday, April 3.

“National World War I Memorial construction should give us pride”

“The coronavirus has shut down much of the nation,” says Tom Rogan, “but construction at the National World War I Memorial rumbles on.” Writing in the Washington Examiner newspaper in March, Rogan observes that the ongoing construction progress at the Memorial, “as far as it comports with public health needs”, “is good news.” Rogan points out that keeping the project moving forward on schedule “matters. It has stained the nation’s honor that those who fought so long ago have not had a timeless memorial to their service.” Click here to read the entire thoughtful and insightful article.


Why Don’t We Celebrate the Doughboys as the ‘Greatest Generation’?

Doughboy

“Why does the First World War get no respect in America?” asks author Michael Peck in an article on The National Interest web site this month. Peck notes that “over 100 years after America’s declaration of war on Germany on April 6, 1917, our nation’s participation in World War I is seldom remembered except for a few old statues on town squares.” Peck wonders if “it has to do with why the war was fought” and how soon “the world was again engulfed by global war.” Click here to read the entire article urging Americans to remember the “courage and commitment” of the Doughboys..


On International Women’s Day 2020, Remembering Women’s Roles in WWI

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Doran Cart, Senior Curator at The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO, published an article in Ms. magazine this month chronicling the “thousands of American women served in all duties overseas during World War I,” on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Noting that women served as “doctors, hospital administrators, ambulance and truck drivers, telephone operators, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, reconstruction aides, entertainers, canteen workers, office workers, fundraisers and many other occupations,” Doran also noted that while none were in combat roles, some lost their lives. Click here to read Doran’s entire article on the extraordinary performance of American women in the Great War.


Petition asks for World War I monument to be placed in Martinsburg, WV town square

Martinsburg Doughboy ststue

Nearly a century after the World War I Doughboy monument in Martinsburg, West Virginia was installed in front of the historic Martinsburg post office, the impending sale of the Federal property has reignited a controversy from the 1920’s about just where the statue should be located. Berkeley County, which own the sculpture, intends to place it in the county’s War Memorial Park. The Martinsburg City Council has received a petition requesting the statue be placed in the town square. Click to read articles in the Herald-Mail newspaper and The Journal newspaper that outline a disagreement going back to the original placement of the memorial after World War I.


Decades-long World War I munitions cleanup in DC nears completion

DC munitions cleanup

The peaceful serenity of the neighborhood surrounding the stately home at 4825 Glenbrook Road, in the Spring Valley section of Northwest D.C., was matched by the potential danger and uncertainty of chemical agents buried beneath it. Almost eight years since heavy machinery knocked down the first bricks of the home that had been built atop a World War I chemical weapons testing and disposal site — known as the American University Experiment Station — the painstaking cleanup of what’s been called the “mother of all toxic dumps” is entering its final stages. Click here to read the entire story, and listen to the audio report.


Roanoke, Virginia fought a war against an influenza pandemic in 1918

Roanoake Red Cross

Perhaps 50 million people died worldwide during the flu outbreak in 1918-19, a number that included 675,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 12,000 Virginians died of the flu, 10 times more than died on the battlefields during World War I. Today, as Roanoke joins the rest of the world in trying to fend off another global pandemic, the response to the swift and deadly outbreak of influenza in the fall of 1918 still holds a few lessons.  Click here to learn more about how the city’s health department and the Red Cross fought the the pandemic a century ago.


Doughboy MIA for March 2020

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A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is SGT John T. Curran, M CO/316 INF/79 DIV, DWRIA while POW 07NOV1918.  John Thomas Curran was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 01AUG1891, the fifth of ten children born to James and Mary Curran. Mary Curran died in 1911; it is not believed James remarried. On draft registration day (05JUN1917) Curran listed his home address as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and his occupation as carpenter. He is described as tall and slender with grey eyes and dark brown hair. He claimed no exemption from service.

Curran was inducted into the service on 02NOV1917 at Allenton, Pennsylvania and sent to Camp Meade in Maryland for training, where he was assigned to Company M/316th Infantry Regiment / 79th Division. He would remain with this unit until his death. He was elevated in rank to Private First Class on 21JAN1918; Corporal ten days later on 31JAN1918; and Sergeant on 10JUN1918. He departed for overseas service with his unit on 09JULY1918 aboard the steamship France, departing from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Records show that SGT Curran was in Base Hospital #31 from 22SEPT1918 through 16OCT1918, cause unknown but likely as a result of the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic then sweeping the world. During this time the 79th Division participated in the assault on Montfaucon on 26 & 27SEPT1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, taking massive casualties in the process. It is very lucky that Curran missed this action – the 79th was pulled off the line by 30SEPT1918 for rest and refittment with replacements; after just five days on the line, the division was combat ineffective.

Curran rejoined the division at Verdun during this its refittment and wrote his last letter home from there dated 25OCT1918. On 03NOV1918 the 3rd/316th again went into action. During the heavy fighting on 06NOV1918, SGT Curran was severely wounded in the ankle by machine gun fire and taken prisoner. He was transported by to a house serving as German Base Hospital # 72 where he is reported to have died on 07NOV1918 of his wounds and been buried in the garden of the house, then serving as a cemetery for the hospital. His death was reported by the International Red Cross on 20MAR1919.

Following the war an investigation into Curran’s death and burial was conducted as late as 1926, and German authorities were questioned on the subject. Records are sparse but indicate German officials insisted at the time they knew nothing further than what had been reported. To date no further Graves Registration Service searchers’ reports have been located. Curran is currently believed to be unrecovered, and Doughboy MIA maintains this case as open and under continued investigation.

Want to help in Curran’s case? Why not consider a donation to Doughboy MIA that can help us in our mission of making a full accounting of our missing US service personnel from WW!? Large or small – the size doesn’t matter. What does is that you care and remember. Give to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Commemorative Hat

Commemorative World War I Hat

Inspired by the iconic image of a U.S. Doughboy, you can wear your American pride with this Made in the USA hat.

An informal term for a member of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, “Doughboys” especially used to refer to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One. This poignant silhouette of a soldier in trench warfare serves as a reminder of those who sacrificed so much one century ago.

Hat features: Navy with white Doughboy embroidery.100% cotton, structured hat with contrasting pancake visor, sweatband and taping. 6 panel soft crown, pre-curved bill. Velcro closure features U.S. flag emblem on this exclusive commemorative hat. One Size Fits All.

Proceeds from the sale of this item will help to fund the building of the National World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included. 

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.


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You can keep track of progress at the new National World War I Memorial through construction site time lapse video, or a live video feed from the site. Click here to take a look, and also find out how you can help finish this national tribute to the 4.7 million Americans who served, and the 116,516 who did not come home from World War I.


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Frank Carson Davidson, Jr.

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Frank Carson Davidson, Jr.

Submitted by: Marianne (Dee) Dosch {granddaughter}

Frank Carson Davidson Jr. was born around 1894. Frank Davidson served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Frank Carson Davidson, Military Service Gunners Mate 3rd Class Ninth Naval District U.S. Naval Reserve Force

The First World War began in Europe on July 28th, 1914. As hard as the United States tried to stay out of WWI, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to enter The Great War on April 6th, 1917. It turned out to be one of the deadliest conflicts in history as over 18 million troops and civilians were killed during the more than four years of fighting. The Selective Service Act was passed on May 18th, 1917 requiring men between the ages of 21 to 31 to register for the U.S. Armed Forces.

On this one hundred year anniversary of my country entering into WWI, I wanted to know more about my grandfather who served in the armed forces during this time. With the help of my Aunt, his daughter Diana Davidson Carter, I was able to learn some facts about his time in the U.S. Navy. In an old box in her attic were his military records with the information that I compiled together, along with some old photographs, to write this story.

Read Frank Carson Davidson, Jr.’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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